Here in the South West like other parts of the UK, we are celebrating the South Asian Heritage Month, which kick-started on the 18th of July and goes on until the 17th of August. It started in 2020 but this year marks its formal launch. It aims to celebrate and raise the profile of British South Asians, which include people from the 8 countries of South Asia including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. It is a month-long opportunity to show what it means to be South Asian in Modern-day UK, celebrate South Asian Culture in its colourful diversity as well as look to the past to see how Britain became the diverse nation it is today. It was co-founded by Binita Kane, a consultant Respiratory physician and Jasvir Singh, a family law barrister. The motto of the movement is to Celebrate, Commemorate and Educate with the view to raise awareness, come together to celebrate the rich diversity of the cultures of South Asian countries, strengthen bonds within the community and forge stronger bonds with other communities and cultures.
The month-long event creates a space to jointly celebrate the multi-hued communities and people of South Asian and is a grassroots movement that has been driven by the lived experiences of the founders and others in being British South Asian. Like many other creative ideas, it happened “over a cup of chai in December 2018 when the founders came together to discuss how people’s understanding of the interconnectedness between Britain and South Asia could be better understood in the UK” (https://www.southasianheritage.org.uk/about). It has been inspired by Black History Month and other similar awareness months.
South Asian influences are pervasive everywhere in Britain, this includes our food and tastes, clothes and fashions, music and dance and even our words. Everywhere you go, in the streets and towns, you can see the traces and lashings of our varied South Asian cultures and see contributions made by our heritage. Our people have made a mark in all walks of life and in different professions, occupations and places. South Asian culture permeates all parts of British life and adds to the diversity of the nation.
In the first of a series of reports to mark South Asian Heritage Month, ITV South West Reporter Claire Manning and camera person Penny has spoken to Drs Atul Mishra and Smita Tripathi who came to Plymouth 20 years ago and have gone on to settle in Plymouth, raise a child and establish themselves as Lecturers in the University of Plymouth’s Business School. They think of Plymouth as home.